December is when we deliver the hundreds of orders for our Irish heritage apple trees. We have to wait until the trees become fully dormant before we dig up our bare root apple trees and then prepare them for delivery, before shipping them out before the Christmas holidays. It’s great to see so many orders going out, knowing these rare varieties are helping to increase the biodiversity of orchards across Ireland.

When we have a spare moment in-between the packing, the main priority is tidying up the orchards. December is an ideal time to do winter pruning in time for spring. We start pruning our trees throughout the dormant season as well as collecting scion wood for next spring’s grafting.

Disposing of cuttings, pruning back hedges, cleaning and servicing all our tools and machinery, cleaning up the nursery and packing away our irrigation systems are all on the jobs list for December.

We are delighted to partner with NOTS and the Heritage Council to offer a Heritage Orchard Development & Management CPD course taking place across 2022. Taking place on our farm in Co. Clare, this course consists of five modules, taught over five full days throughout the year. The aim of the course is to develop the knowledge, skills and confidence of the participants to successfully develop a small commercial orchard for the long term benefit of the farmland and nature.

This course will be a combination of classroom based theory, practical demonstration and advice for the successful long term development of farmland heritage orchards. The course begins in March and concludes in October, for more information and booking click HERE

Selection of seeds in our purpose built living seed bank.

We are constantly seeking to make our procedures more efficient here at Irish Seed Savers and this December we are reorganising our freezers in our purpose built living seed bank. This will allow for a set uniformity that will speed up the processing and packaging of seeds and seed orders.

We recently had our Seed Guardian meeting for the year and each guardian went home with a selection of seeds or roots that they will grow for us in 2022. Our Seed Guardians allow us to grow a more diverse selection of seeds that we can then make available to the public. We’ve also started training for our next group of guardians that will graduate in September 2022.

In the gardens we’ve started rouging our radishes. This is the process of removing inferior or undesirable crops and we will be digging up and selecting leeks later in the month. We’ve mulched our bare soils, covered our compost heaps, tidied up our borders and are beginning to wash out pots and our polytunnels to start 2022 afresh.

China Rose Radish